In the next spring, or shortly thereafter, Samantha Cristoforetti will return to the international space station. «It is with great pleasure that I announce Samantha’s second mission – says Josef Aschbacher, general manager of ESA – because Samantha is an excellent model for anyone applying for the selection of the next astronauts which has just opened. I am thrilled to see her carry on the essential work of scientists in orbit as she inspires all Europeans to explore further and achieve new goals for the benefit on Earth. ‘ The Italian astronaut had his first experience in orbit between 2014 and 2015, staying up there for two hundred days. Now a new challenge awaits her, starting this time from Cape Canaveral and not from Baykonur by boarding Elon Musk’s private Crew Dragon spacecraft. Alternatively, the possibility of using Boeing’s Starliner competitor remains open, but has yet to prove its reliability after the serious problems of the first test without man on board at the end of 2019.
“I grew up”
“In recent years I have had many opportunities to grow as a professional – said AstroSamantha at the press conference -. I coordinated the Spaceship EAC, a team of young researchers and students working on technologies for lunar exploration and who are part of the I-HAB program. This experience allowed me to contribute to the initial development of the housing module that ESA will provide for the Lunar Gateway, the space station that will be born around the Moon. In addition, I also had the opportunity to command NASA’s NEEMO23 underwater mission, which looks a lot like a space mission. But returning to the ISS, my home away from home, has always remained my aspiration. I am honored to have been chosen for a second mission and I look forward to representing Europe in orbit again, while we continue to work for science and technological excellence ”.
Several tasks in the long-term flight that awaits the Italian astronaut on the ISS which will remain in service until 2030 according to the latest agreements. Meanwhile, some experiments started in 2019 by Luca Parmitano will continue in the course of his Beyond mission. It will also face an interesting manufacturing test with a 3D printer of some metal pieces and other experiments with spirulina algae for the production of food in the perspective of future long-term space travel to the Moon and Mars. In this regard, “Italy renews its commitment to support human and robotic exploration both in Earth orbit and in the future, for the Moon – explains Giorgio Saccoccia, president of the Italian Space Agency ASI -. Pending departure, ASI is also working on new experiments that will soon be selected. Furthermore, from the station Samantha will continue to support educational activities to inspire the new generations by bringing them closer to the world of STEM subjects, fundamental disciplines to guarantee a future of sustainable growth ».
In the coming months, various initiatives will intensify the presence of space tourists in orbit. «I see these activities with favor – comments Samantha – because they extend the possibility for citizens to share the importance of space exploration. Everything will also facilitate the commercialization of space and technological development ». Finally, great appreciation was reserved for the opportunity to select parastronauts as indicated in the latest ESA call. «There are already acrobatic flights with airplanes, for example with the patrol WeFly!Team, and therefore I see no difficulty in climbing into orbit ».
March 3, 2021 (change March 4, 2021 | 16:25)